Successfully running a Win 3.11 system on current hardware.

By mercalf ·
I have been awaiting a chance to grab a copy of the original Windows DOS and 3.11 for many-a-months now, and thankfully a professor of mine happens to own just about all things computer. I am a product of the tech-age, but have been raised on operating systems that make everything almost too easy. A project of mine has been to learn DOS, and 3.11... to truly understand the operating system and what goes into them.

Well, I have them; but I only have them in-hand. The problem we have run into (during the after class project) is the installation. Windows DOS+3.11 do not recognize USB (if I recall correctly, it was XP that first even introduced USB boot recognition??). How do I install DOS, then 3.11 onto a system that has NO floppy drive, and already has hardware that did not exist back in that day? I AM NOT TRYING TO DUAL BOOT OR VIRTUAL PC THIS THING.

We figured that even when/if DOS gets installed, 3.11 still remains on the USB flash drive - and when DOS will not (or can it?) recognize the USB...ahh!

*The object is to successfully install and have the capability to run a network through Windows 3.11 on a laptop. The laptop has USB, CD/DVD +-RW, etc... NO FLOPPY*


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All Answers

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I would think present day hardware will be too fast ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Successfully running a Wi ...

To run any OS that is basically 15 years old.

I'd think the Virtual PC route would be far more successful since you could virtualise the SX25 or a DX2-66 or a blisteringly fast P-133. THOSE were the chips that Windows for Workgroups (3.11) was designed to be run on.

Or purchase a USB 3.5" Floppy Drive and watch an OS speeded up to lightspeed. But I didn't think that was what you were wanting.

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Yes but you are in for a lot of pain & suffering

by OH Smeg In reply to Successfully running a Wi ...

It would be much easier to learn Linux and a dam side more useful as well.

Anyway USB is out DOS never worked and no drivers have ever been made for USB & DOD.

Secondly DOS is a bare OS without any drivers so you'll need Video, Sound, Network Drivers at the very least and the Adapt CD Rom Driver. These all came on Floppies.

There are several versions of M$ Dos none of them where ever much good if you can get a copy of DR DOS 6 or latter it's better and has more drivers so you will not have to go hunting for as many hopefully.

Now the next thing is that DOS is limited in HDD Size so naturally any Big HDD are out of the question. Remember even latter in the DOS Days a 100 MEG HDD was considered as Large and if you wanted to use a 4 GIG HDD you needed a Plug In Controller Card along with it's drivers to allow DOS to load on it.

For starters you'll need to copy the DOS Install Disc's to a CD and boot off the CD and to be perfectly honest a desktop would be better to use here just because you can change things to make it work which you can not do with a NB. If the NB has Realtech Drivers I wouldn't expect them to work either as the AC97 Drivers where never written for dos and at best you maybe able to find some 95/98 Drivers which are the same thing.

The same will most likely apply to the Video Card as well in the NB unless it is an old NB and just maybe you'll have fighting chance to get it to work. If the NB originally came with 98SE Loaded you should be able to use DOS without too much trouble but if it came loaded with XP I wouldn't fancy your chances of getting much at all to work. Put Simply DOS and NB's are not a great mix.

Now for what you can do and that is use DOS on a 20 GIG HDD though you will not be able to format the entire 20 GIGS as DOS can not address that much space. You'll also need to drop the RAM right down as well because DOS never ran on the massive amounts of RAM that are used today a 1 MEG Configuration was large in it's day and even the old Windows 95 didn't often have more than 4 MEG Installed.

Get the idea of what you are letting yourself in for here? It would be much better to pickup a very old Pentium 200 MMX Computer and attempt to load DOS onto that you just may have a fighting chance then. :)


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Install from a CD

by Jacky Howe In reply to Successfully running a Wi ...

I use 3 programs

Because a lot of newer PC's don't have Floppy Drives anymore I use Virtual Floppy Drive. VFD.

Winimage is used to manipulate Floppy Drive Images. I have found it best to save them with the .ima extension.

Magic ISO will allow you to create multiboot CD/DVd's with menus.

Nero will burn ISO's.

These programs have help files to get you going.

Magic ISO has a step by step for creating multiboot CD/DVd's.

Google is your friend.

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Thanks for the help.

by mercalf In reply to Successfully running a Wi ...

I will continue to apply my efforts towards current hardware, and keep you guys posted. However, it seems like the best option was to buy an older system (praying I'll find one), and go from there.

Thanks for the help so far though!


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Well you can use current hardware

by OH Smeg In reply to Thanks for the help.

But you have to chose it carefully and never on a pre built system. If you build it yourself with the correct components it's not difficult.

But using a NB is the worst way forward.


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It shouldn't be too hard to find an old system

by Jacky Howe In reply to Thanks for the help.

and I think that it is a wise decision as a lot of the newer boards won't even support Win98. Look in the computer adds in your local paper. Ask your friends to keep an eye out for you, even try garage sales. PC repairers often have old equipment that may have been passed over. I have had a lot of customers give me their old PC's when they have bought a new one. Lots of places to look.

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How old?

by mercalf In reply to It shouldn't be too hard ...

How old are we talking about? What type of hardware should I be looking for with this old system?

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Something like this

by Jacky Howe In reply to How old?

The minimum requirements are a 386 and I would be looking for something in the Intel Pentium 75-MHZ to 200-MHz processor range. You would have a better chance of getting drivers to work. The other thing to remember is that most of these systems have probably seen better days. Good luck.

Windows for Workgroups Version History

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Microsoft Virtual PC

by robo_dev In reply to Successfully running a Wi ...

This will work very well and not hose your existing PC.

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USB Drivers

by p.j.hutchison In reply to Successfully running a Wi ...

There are some DOS drivers for USB storage access but its not great. Ideally, you would use Floppy or Optical drives for W311:

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